Visitors Bearing Gifts

A little backstory: I’m not from Michigan. I was born and raised in upstate NY, in a suburb of Rochester NY. I moved to Michigan to work at the Longway Planetarium in Flint, MI, after living in the NYC area for several years. I’ve been happily in Michigan around 15 years now, and the ONLY thing I regret about leaving NY is that I live 6 hours away from my parents!

They came for a visit. They arrived weary, since they both still work, but bearing gifts, as always! They brought Mike a saw. A very nice saw. I know it has a great name that explains its function, but I’ll just call it a saw. It moved in many, many dimensions, planes, and time zones, and Mike was delighted with it.

...and this knob extrudes macaroni...
…and this knob extrudes macaroni…
...but this one flattens out pizza dough and then takes you to 1985...
…but this one flattens out pizza dough and then takes you to 1985…

Ok, I’m making fun, but now I see the label- it’s a radial saw!

We let Mom and Dad sit down for 5 minutes, then we put them to work. We still had lots of work to do before drywalling could commence. So hi ho, hi ho, up on the scaffolding we go!

"Measure twice, cut once"
“Measure twice, cut once”

The wall at the front of the church wasn’t ready for drywall yet. Nailers (2x4s) had to be positioned so that there was something to nail the drywall into. There is an arch already built into the wall, but there was little to hang drywall on, so that was the day’s project. There was something for everyone to do.

How's the weather up there, Ma?
How’s the weather up there, Ma?
"Hey! Up here! Look up!"
“Hey! Up here! Look up!”

I definitely inherited my work ethic from them.  They haven’t slowed down much in the 46 years I’ve known them. Mom’s 71 and Dad’s 69 (it was his birthday!), and they work harder and better than most 30 year olds! Plus they are fun to have around. Dad has a great attitude and endless curiosity, and Mom and I are always up to hijinks. We both almost wet our pants trying to get a ladder out of the bathroom. It was definitely a Laurel and Hardy moment, but luckily I’m the cameraperson so there is no evidence of it!

"Put that camera down and fetch me a prybar!"
“Put that camera down and fetch me a prybar!”

This was an especially athletic moment for the men. You can’t see the full view, but Dad was hanging out in space like a child on a jungle gym.

"This doesn't feel like recess!"
“This doesn’t feel like recess!”

Honestly? I don’t remember him being in so much peril when I took the picture, but looking back, yikes!!

"I can't quite reach the nail..."
“I can’t quite reach the nail…”

But perseverance paid off, and the arch had its nailers!

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I know it’s hard to tell the difference, but Wayne, our drywaller, will be able to tell! He’s set to start work soon, and everything must be prepped and ready.

There was also a door that was to be walled over and had to be framed in.

Good bye door, hello wall...
Good bye door, hello wall…
Let's go get some ice cream!
Let’s go get some ice cream!

It was a busy and short weekend, and I was very sad to see them leave for NY on Monday morning, but before they left there was some time made for ice cream eating and cow-gazing. Dad and Mom grew up on farms in a little town near Hornell, NY, and Dad retains his love for the bovine race, as do I. So he and Mike stopped by our favorite magical cow pasture for some cow-eye candy!

Bovine Bliss
Bovine Bliss

Cow-gazing is relaxing!

Cow Contentment!
Cow Contentment!

We’re very, very lucky to have Mom and Dad! Thank you, God!

– The White Church Gallery

Uncovering the Window

For as many years as can be remembered by the living, there has been a red circle with a white cross in the front of the Church.

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Here’s the story of the uncovering of the Quatrefoil window.

First light was quite exciting!

Now you see it,
Now you see it,
Now you don't!
Now you don’t!

I couldn’t take pictures of bringing the window down since I was holding the lowering rope! But she is down, and ready to be loved. It’s not clear yet whether she will be restored or will become a museum piece. She’s in rough shape.

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Most of the glass was intact, but in order to repair the window, all the glass had to come out. That meant all the brittle glazing had to be picked out. I did the best I could, but it became apparent that the glass was really not worth saving in this case. Yes, it was old and original, but we think the reason it was covered it because it’s too fragile for the westerly weather it had to take. So new glass will have to be made for it.

Antique brittle glazing + dry rotted wood = bye bye glass.
Antique brittle glazing + dry rotted wood = bye bye glass.

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I did manage to remove the center glass without mishap. And never fear, I saved most of the pieces for the future. I’m sure a project will arise that will call for antique warbly glass.

The bones.
The bones.

Exciting!

Meanwhile, the other window is coming along…

Primer
Primer
Nice sanding job!
Nice sanding job!

We’re still debating colors, so stay tuned…

– The White Church Gallery

Shop with your Eyes, Buy with your Heart.

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While we are waiting for time to replenish our coffers and our energy, we did a little window shopping. Bay City was our mall, and Antiques were our eye candy.

Quatrefoil Quteness!
Quatrefoil Quteness!

Want! And also…

Shiny, pretty tiles.
Shiny, pretty tiles.

Want badly! Loads of gorgeous tile. But where would it ever fit? What would we do with it? We pondered and had great discourse on the subject, with no resolution other than, “If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

Translation: No More Impulse Buying!
Translation: No More Impulse Buying!

But we did put some money down on a great, and needed purchase.

Emptied out, of course.
Emptied out, of course.

Miles and miles of counters. Glass counters, with glass shelves and mirrors, and it’s LIT. In great shape. A little 80’s for my taste, but imagine the burgundy base covered in a rich wood and lovely rich fabric covers inside the cases. And imagine it in the Church! Yes!

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Meanwhile, back at the Church, things were beginning to be a little oppressive. Too much stuff. How will we have room for the new stuff if we have all this old stuff?

I'm sensing a pattern here...
I’m sensing a pattern here…

So we went on a Arma-get-your-clean-on. It’s a continual battle, and it required the rental of a storage space, but so be it.

It's Work-ways. Ready for work!
It’s Work-ways. Ready for work!

We both know our tendency towards clutter, and awareness is the first step towards fixing it, but shopping with your eyes isn’t quite as much fun as shopping with your paycheck. However, when the paycheck has already gone into heat, and light, and buying storage space for things already purchased with the paycheck, the reality of the vicious cycle hits you in the face. We can and will do better!

So we have been turning our eyes inward. I have been making a new rug, and Mike has been lovingly cleaning up his easel, in preparation for new work.

LOVE this easel.
LOVE this easel.
Preparation is part of the path.
Preparation is part of the path.

Everything is as it should be, and this is the time to be quiet, to listen for God’s voice, and to follow instructions. We aren’t in charge!

Who made this?
Who made this?

– The White Church Gallery

Ah aHHHH

That’s supposed to be angels singing. It’s the sound we hear (and usually make) when we look up and gaze at the new arch.

Can you hear them singing?
Can you hear them singing?

Ron Picard Builders has done it again.

Remember before?

All rectangles and no view
All rectangles and no view

Where’s the beautiful window above the door? And what will we do with that long, short window to the right? How about arches, said Captain Ron.

Ok, said Grindstone Mike, and cut through the plaster. That was a hard, messy job, but someone had to do it!

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Then came the new supports.

Amazing!
Amazing!

Next the drywall, after wetting it and BENDING it- who knew it would bend so far? Ron did!

You missed a spot...or no?
You missed a spot…or no?
Mike and Ron wet it and bend it...
Mike and Ron wet it and bend it…

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Next, the bead board. Nice touch boys.

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And the finish!

Ron and son Josh putting some back into it!
Ron and son Josh putting some back into it!

And so, before…

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and after…

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Ah aHHH!
Ah aHHH!

– The White Church Gallery

Snow!

It snowed!
It snowed!

We were all set for the wood stove install, but snowy weather put the kibosh on it.

Rusty stove pipe!
Rusty stove pipe!

So we spent the time nesting, enjoying the feel of this wonderful place.

Sunlight, shadow, spirit...
Sunlight, shadow, spirit…
Cleaning, chatting...
Cleaning, chatting…
Planning, plotting, putting things in their place.
Planning, plotting, putting things in their place.

One thing we wanted to know: what’s the date on the church bell?

dis'll do...
dis’ll do…

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Unfortunately, only a contortionist could get up there, so the date of the church still remains a mystery. I poured through information at the Port Austin library, and we’ve got the historical books  by the Port Austin Historical Society, but there are conflicting reports. One says the church was built and moved in 1902, but that doesn’t make sense. Why would it have been built and moved the same year? We know it was moved. Some maps have the church closer to Eagle Bay in 1900. We know there was a Presbyterian church but it had burned. There was also a Baptist church according to one account. We did find a 2×4 that was burned on the end; apparently after the fires of 1871 and 1881, folks used whatever lumber they could to rebuild. So it could have been built after 1871 or 1881.  Many churches like it were built around that time.

If anyone has information, I’d love to hear it! Drop me a line.

Church!

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Meanwhile back at the cottage, a peaceful afternoon rolls by.

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– The White Church Gallery

Friends and Neighbors

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Who’s that sneaking around back, hooking up… ELECTRICITY???  Power? Lights? All that comes with the modern age?

Far out! Electricity is surely on the checklist. Light, heat, and TUNES!

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But nature is still in charge. Look at the beautiful art it makes on the INSIDE of the window!

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Friends and soon to be neighbors were up to help with demolition. Thanks so much, Duane and Pat. They will be Grindstone Corners neighbors soon!

Pat taking off molding
Pat taking off molding
Duane helping to de-nail lumber
Duane helping to de-nail lumber

 

Another building that needs love!
Another building that needs love!

The Barn Door is …closed for now! But not for ever…Pat and Duane are going to bring it back to life. A Wood Shop. Wood, metal, stone.

Can cute get any, gosh, cuter?

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So work progresses, even at night now. The ceiling tiles were held up by piles and piles of very nice, very expensive lumber!

$5-$6 a piece! American!
$5-$6 a piece! American!
Wood chair!
Wood chair!

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Happy Church!

New Friends and Neighbors across the street are renovating Captain Peer’s place, but it’s not mine to reveal:

The Old Peer Building
The Old Peer Building

It’s going to be awesome, though, and I can’t wait till it opens! Ice Cream, candy, and toys! Just for starters…

Meanwhile,  back to work..

I know how to use a hammer.
I know how to use a hammer.
– The White Church Gallery

The Pursuit of Happiness

This is a man inspired.

We need a dumpster.
We need a dumpster.
Hey, when the ceiling came down,
Hey, when the ceiling came down,
...the Bible got a ding!
…the Bible got a ding!

He heard a voice and found a church.

Fix walls, sand the floors, electricity, furnace, paint inside and out...
Fix walls, sand the floors, electricity, furnace, paint inside and out…

Tile pile:

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A man walks his own path…

Where the HECK is my pry bar?
Where the HECK is my pry bar?

– The White Church Gallery

White Church Revealed!

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White Church post 60's redo
White Church post 60’s redo

So we’ve been “willing to tell you,  wanting to tell you,  waiting to tell you!” What’s behind the ceiling? Is it the roof? Is it more wood? Is it BAGS of GOLD???

Should we tell?
Should we tell?

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Okay, no bags of gold, but even better: The wood ceiling! A peaked ceiling, and…more wall and a groovy curve near the top! Jackpot!

Before...
Before…
And After...
And After…

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So she definitely needs a LOT more love, where love = bags of gold, but she’ll never go back to the 60’s!
Meanwhile, here’s what happened to the Ugly Tree!

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Stumpy!
Stumpy!
– The White Church Gallery

White Church Gallery, Grindstone City

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We got a dumpster! Apparently in the 1960’s the congregation “upgraded” the church with a dropped ceiling, paneling over the old wainscoting, and a tile floor with a baby blue/peach carpet. They painted the pews fleshy-peach, painted the stuccoed walls blue, and boarded up the circular window at the front. It was a common thing to do in the 60’s and I bet they saved on their heating bill!

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But blech blech blech!! Oh and they added the lights and ceiling fans, of course!

So we got a dumpster to try to get back to the original box of wood and worship. It’s under there!

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(did you just say “underwhere?”)

– The White Church Gallery

Ugly Tree

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This tree has been around awhile. Seen a lot of activity, heard a lot of talk, smelled a lot of scents and absorbed a lot of energy. The Ugly Tree is done. The time of abuse and neglect is over. Our mission is to resurrect the old Methodist Church of Grindstone City, Michigan back into a place of music, art, warmth and faith.

 

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– The White Church Gallery